October 15, 2018
"Look at that hunk of man."
- Deni, looking at a photo of himself ....
What a finale that was.
A packed out club. A bunch of superfans. A road-hardened band letting it all out on the last night of a tour. It was the perfect storm, and it spawned something of a perfect evening for Sarah and The Glitterboyz in Bergen, Netherlands.
I feel pressure at this point in a tour to have some perspective worth sharing. I’m not sure I do this morning as the laptop screen glows in my face. I’m propped up in my bed in our hotel, listening to The Weakerthans and trying to write while I have a few minutes. The work is done. The shows are finished. We’re going off to handle some business today and perhaps poke around Amsterdam like proper tourists. The words have been hard to find at times on this tour. They remain somewhat elusive today.
What happened yesterday?
We got up in the morning. We had breakfast at the hotel. We came back to our rooms and I did a blog post. I showered. We got dressed and drove the 45 minutes or so from Gouda to Bergen. We drove cautiously through those narrow streets and once again I saw ghosts in the shadows. Ken riding an e-bike in the dark last year and almost getting hit by a car. Deni and I carrying my huge, awful hardware case from our billet to the club after I forgot to unload it.
Last time we played Taverne Bergen it was early in the tour. It was all still new and novel and we were more or less healthy. We returned this year at the end of the road. Tired. A bit sick in some cases. Road weary. Tempered by over 20 shows and ready to release all of the stuff that builds up over a month on the road. We were ready to celebrate. Ready to let go. If you can stand the cliché, ready to rock.
And we did.
Sarah called it one of the best shows she’s ever played. Everything sounded good. The crowd was with us right away. We played … well, like a band that’s played 20 shows in the past 24 days. There have been ups and downs on this tour, as there are on all tours, but we finished up. Sarah even unleashed Ken the Zen and Johnny Strange for a “Mr. Mustard” reprise. True confession: I really do like being out front. I think that’s something I’ll explore in my impending, uncertain future.
Our old friend Joost reappeared last night. You’ll remember him from a post I did at the beginning of the tour (it was either four weeks or eight years ago – I can’t remember). He provided our backline, so it was cool to have him out to actually see his gear in action. We brought him up to sing “Proud Mary” with us and he killed it. We had another guy, Valentino, come up and help us out with “Three Little Birds” and everyone loved it. It really was a night of release. We felt good and I think it showed.
Those of you who missed the show also missed the one and only appearance of Sarah Smith behind the drums on this tour. We played “My Best Friend’s Girl” by The Cars and Sarah crushed it. People went nuts.
The crowd makes all the difference sometimes, you know. We started early on a Sunday evening and the room was jammed. Deni brought them to attention with a great opening set and they were primed by the time we went on. It was so nice to look out and see a full room. It was doubly nice to see so many of the fans and friends who have supported us along the way. Conny, Schimmi, Karin, and Tanja were there from Germany. Tjitske, Seke, Jikke, and Wendy from Friesland. Others I’m probably forgetting in the blur (with apologies). I can’t thank all of you enough for everything you give to us. We are blessed to know all of you and so grateful for your support.
We also got to see our beautiful friend Nadra and her husband Paul. We stayed at their B&B last time around and had a couple of memorable evenings in their party garage. It was great to see them again, as well as Jordy the agent. Thanks for coming!
After the show we got to talk to everyone and take pictures and do all of the fun stuff. We ate a fabulous snack of Mexican food and then, for the last time, did the post-show load-out. Then it was farewell at last to so many of our beautiful friends who do so much to make this journey a positive one for us. The drive back to the hotel was serene. You might think the last night of the tour would have us amped up and ready to get crazy, but – dare I say it – we might be too old for all of that.
We came back and went to our rooms. Deni and I are trying to push the bedtimes back a bit in preparation for the reverse jetlag, so we stayed up watching a bit of stand-up comedy on Netflix and catching up on our socials. I can only describe the post-finale comedown as warm. It was a warm feeling just relaxing in the hotel and knowing that we got the job done.
And now, and now, and now.
We have gear to drop off and then we’re going to be tourists for a change. Last night wasn’t just the finale for the fans. It was the finale, in a sense, for the band. When we get back to Canada we’ll go our separate ways again. Deni has four solo shows this week. Sarah and Ken have a bunch of cool shows coming in Ontario and western Canada and on a cruise ship. Sarah will do her Christmas run with her regular band. I have … stuff. Today is our last chance to be us in Europe for our trip. We want to enjoy it together.
With that in mind, I’m going to sign off for the day. We’ve all earned just a little break, haven’t we?
* Thanks to Tjitske for the live photos!